November means holidays and cozy sweaters, but it also means colder weather and with cold temperatures can come some issues with your teeth. Here, we’ll explain how cold weather can affect your teeth.

How Does Cold Weather Affect My Teeth?

During the cold weather months, you often go from freezing temperatures outside to warm temperatures inside. This also applies to your teeth when you eat something very cold or very hot. Your teeth experience this change in temperature in an interesting way by expanding and then contracting. While they are expanding and contracting in response to the change in temperature, little cracks can start to form in your teeth. While these cracks don’t affect the structure of the tooth itself, it does expose your dentin, the sensitive layer underneath your tooth’s hard enamel, to these extreme changes in temperature. When the dentin is exposed and experiences the cold and heat, your teeth can feel pained and sensitive.

Why Does Cold Weather Affect My Teeth?

Beyond the cracks made in your teeth by the change in temperature, there are a number of oral health related reasons as to why your dentin may already be exposed and therefore your teeth experience pain in the cold weather.

  • One of the most serious reasons is that you have advanced gum disease, also known as periodontitis, which wears away at the enamel and eventually causes the dentin to be exposed.
  • Tooth decay can also be the cause of your dentin being exposed because acid has worn away the enamel and hit the dentin.
  • People who grind their teeth often see their enamel worn away from the constant pressure they put on their teeth by grinding or clenching.
  • If you whiten your teeth, the whitening agent may be so strong that it wears away at your enamel and causes sensitivity when you’re whitening or in the cold weather.
  • Your preference for acidic drinks like tea, coffee or soda could also be the cause of worn enamel and exposed dentin.
  • Other bad oral habits such as brushing too hard, smoking, not brushing or flossing regularly, could all also be reasons why your enamel has worn away to expose the dentin below and cause your teeth to be sensitive to cold weather.

What Can I Do to Stop the Cold From Affecting My Teeth?

The first thing you should do if you are experiencing sensitivity or pain in the cold weather is give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll take a look at your teeth and determine the best treatment option. If your sensitivity is not very severe, some typical treatments include sensitivity toothpaste, a mouthguard to inhibit your grinding habit, and fluoride application to strengthen enamel.

Contact us if you have more questions about how cold weather affects your teeth, and to schedule your next checkup.